Exercise Stress Test and Stress Echo

What is a Stress Echocardiogram?

A stress echocardiogram is a test used to gain functional information about your heart. It measures the performance capacity of the heart, lung, and blood vessels, and compares how your heart muscle is pumping before and after exercise.

What happens during the test?

You will be given a loose-fitting gown to wear and asked to undress from the waist up. Electrodes will be placed onto your chest so that your ECG can be monitored throughout the test. A series of resting ultrasound images are taken. To do this, the sonographer will apply ultrasound gel to different areas of your chest and use an ultrasound probe to take pictures and recordings of the heart. You may be asked to hold your breath at times. Resting blood pressure, oxygen saturation and ECG recordings will be taken. The cardiologist will be continually monitoring these throughout the remainder of the test.


You will then be asked to exercise on the treadmill. The treadmill will be stopped by the cardiologist:

It is important to tell the Cardiologist if you are feeling any symptoms or if you need to stop.


Once the treadmill has stopped, you will be asked to immediately lie back down on the bed and another series of images will be taken while the heart is still beating fast.
By comparing the heart’s function before and after exercise, your cardiologist can determine whether enough blood is getting to your heart muscle, or if narrowing of the arteries is restricting its supply.

How long does the test take?

A stress echocardiogram takes approximately 1 hour

Is there any preparation for this test?

No preparation, such as fasting, is necessary, although it is not recommended to consume a heavy meal immediately prior to the test. Continue to take your medications as usual unless you have been instructed otherwise by your doctor.

What do I need to bring?

You will need to have comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for exercise. You will also need to bring your Medicare card and your referral. You may also wish to bring a drink of water and a towel with you for your own comfort. When making your booking, the receptionist will inform you of any fees associated with the test.

How do I book in for an Stress Echocardiogram?

Simply phone our office and book the appointment. We will ask you to read the referral to make sure you are booked in for the correct test. We also need to ensure that the request that has been provided by your doctor meets the Medicare requirements for the test. 

We have two fully qualified cardiac sonographers on staff (see our team section). Please notify reception staff when booking if you require a sonographer of a particular gender.

What happens after the test?

All reports are reviewed and finalised by one of our Cardiologists and will be returned to your referring practitioner within days of your exam. Any abnormal findings will be reported back to your doctor and further recommendations for follow up and treatment will be advised. Patients requiring a follow up appointment at the clinic will be triaged according to the results.

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